Migratory Birds

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EgretMigratory Birds (Egrets/Herons)

In years past, Carrollton has faced a special challenge in managing the effects of egrets and herons nesting in one of our community's residential areas. Initially only a few birds were noticed, but suddenly hundreds of birds moved in and began building nests for the nesting season. These birds arrive during the early spring (March and April). 

Although this natural cycle can be beautiful, the challenges associated can be overwhelming. These concerns relate to noise, odor and significant amounts of excrement that covers streets, sidewalks, cars, mailboxes and other public and private property.

City staff is unable to address any of these issues while the birds are nesting due to their "protected" status provided by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The City needs the help of its residents to address this challenge proactively. We encourage you to take the steps below to protect your trees and to remain vigilant in observing bird activity in your neighborhood:

  • Thin tree canopy to allow sunlight to shine between limbs and other trees
  • Remove old nesting material
  • Use reflective tape, scare-eye balloons or other visual deterrents to make your trees less attractive to migratory birds in search of viable nesting sites
  • If you notice egrets or herons in your trees, use water hose or signal horns to scare birds from the trees
  • Beginning in February/March report ALL egret and heron activity to Animal Services at 972-466-3420 or by clicking here.

Identifying Migratory Birds of Interest:

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

  • Length 18' - 22"
  • Wingspan 35" - 38"
  • Most abundant species in our local heronries
  • Yellow to orange bill
  • Short, thick neck
  • Hunched posture
  • Yellowish legs
  • Color may change during different times of the year
  • Breed late February - October

 Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

  • Length 20" - 24"
  • Wingspan 40" - 46"
  • Frequently noticed in area heronries
  • Light to dark gray body
  • Gray bill
  • Small section of white feathers on top of head and along eyes
  • Long yellow legs
  • Breed March - July

Green Heron

green heron

  • Length 17" - 18"
  • Wingspan 26" - 28"
  • Frequently noticed in heronries
  • Green back with brown chest
  • Slender yellow legs
  • Breed April - July

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

  • Length 20"- 27"
  • Wingspan 41" - 44"
  • Frequently noticed in area heronries
  • Bill is thin, long and black
  • Long slender neck
  • Black legs
  • Bright yellow feet
  • Breed March - August

Great Egret

Great Egret

  • Length 37"- 41"
  • Wingspan 48"- 54"
  • Frequently noticed in area heronries
  • Large white bird
  • Bill is thin, long and yellow
  • Long slender neck
  • Black/gray legs and feet
  • Breed March - August

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

  • Length 45"- 54"
  • Wingspan 66"- 79"
  • Very large bird
  • Not associated with area heronries
  • Slate blue body
  • Blue/green legs
  • Breed March - July

For more information about egrets, herons and other migratory birds, please contact Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife at 972-293-3841.